What a weekend! We had a wonderful stay in Prince Edward County (more posts to come) – we went with old friends, visited some newer ones and shared food with many. Fresh strawberries are in full tilt, asparagus is still haunting local stands (it’s as thick as your thumb) and the vineyards are starting to come to life.
A giant thanks to Norman Hardie for a wonderful afternoon and some stunning samples – he is a gracious host and such a talented wine maker. We tried a few more samples (his Pinot Noir Cuvee L was a new taste for us and is tasty enough to make you weak in the knees). We watched him continuously offer kind introductions to all who walked through the doors and I cannot emphasize enough how much we enjoy what he does and recommend you check the vineyard and it’s products out. We have certainly become biased – it’s not something we’ll apologize for!
We were camping on a rather cold and rainy weekend – it occurred to me that many have not grown up around a campfire and it may be interesting to learn how to cook on a natural fire…
The first step is the fire itself. You want a lot of heat without a lot of flame. Start by building a decent sized fire and don’t be concerned about a lot of flame to start. You want to burn enough wood to form a sold coal base that you can cook over. It can take 45-90 minutes depending on the weather and how dry your wood is. You can spread the coal out once you are ready to cook as well and a little flame is fine. Be careful not to through plastic or colored paper into the fire (not a good practice at any time – sickening if you are choosing to cook with the fire).
Hearty fruit and veg (like potatoes or cored apples stuffed with brown sugar) are easy to cook. Wrap them in foil (we added green onions, salt, pepper and olive oil) and drop them right in the coal. You’ll need tongs to move them around and want to make sure your package is well sealed so it does not get filled with ash:
You can grill the rest of your dinner – and old pots are perfect for the grill (any pot will do but be prepared to have it permanently altered by soot and it will no longer be decent for your kitchen):
At ths point, it’s just like using a BBQ. You can add a few wood chips or small pieces of wood to add further smoke – however it is not likely that you need to. Some people worry that the fire has gone out – the residual heat will last for hours so just be patience and your efforts will pay off. Be careful not to disturb the ashes less you cover your dinner with them.
Last night was a wonderful feast of potato, green onion, asparagus, portabello mushroom and spinach. It was a delightful feast shared with wonderful friends and a restocked fire which cracked and sputtered the night away. Dreamy.